In Focus: Profitable advice business  

A lot of adviser websites look the same

Andrew Neligan

Andrew Neligan

In the late 1990s electronic dance duo Groove Armada released the track "If Everybody Looked the Same", which was extended in the lyrics to say, “we’d be tired of looking at each other”.

For our prospective clients they probably feel like this when they research potential advisers online.

Other than a different logo and colour palette, a lot of adviser websites look the same.

'We do pensions, investments, life assurance and mortgages'. Yada, yada, yada. 'We offer exceptional service standards'. Blah, blah, blah.

When searching for an adviser a client will be asking themselves, 'does this advice firm get me and can they solve my immediate problem?'

Any marketing that doesn’t address those two questions will be lost amidst the noise. How do I know you get me and can help me if your website looks like every other firm I have seen?

Except for a minority of niche firms, most UK advisers are all serving broadly the same market: mass affluent couples approaching, at or in retirement.

If I’m in that demographic I’m more likely to have a warm and fuzzy feeling towards a firm that speaks directly to me.

They can describe who I am and articulate my problem. It doesn’t matter that they don’t present the solution on their website, I’ll make the connection that they can because they have shown that they know me. 

I don’t serve a particularly tight niche, I sit squarely in the market described above. I intend to become more niche overtime as my business grows but for the time being I am confident that my services will stand out to prospective clients because to them I look different. Perception is reality as an old boss of mine liked to say. 

This was reinforced for me the other day when I received an enquiry from a local couple who acknowledged specifically how much they liked my website.

I’ve spent many hours building and crafting it (initially with the help of the Yardstick agency it must be said) so to hear when it hits the mark is extremely gratifying. 

The email exchange that followed also reinforced another important marketing principle: in 2022, it has never been more the case that people buy people and clients want a relationship.

The robo-advisers are serving their market and there will likely always be a place for DIY investors to manage their own money, but as research from Vanguard has shown, 93 per cent of investors who already have an adviser expect that to remain the case.

Whereas 88 per cent of robo-advice investors are willing to change to a human adviser. The more human we appear the more different we will look to the non-sentient advice option.

Which firm is going to come across as more personable; the stuffy, generic brochure style website or the one that shows the personality of the firm and individuals within it?